On this week in Town’s history: Delaney’s blood clot nightmare is finally over
PUBLISHED: 12:44 19 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:30 19 October 2020
Football writer CARL MARSTON recalls a week in Ipswich Town’s history, this time from 10 years ago when defender Damien Delaney recalled his ‘dark days’
This week a decade ago, then-Ipswich Town defender Damien Delaney revealed the full extent of his “dark days” coping with an injury that had threatened to end his whole career.
Delaney gave a very frank and honest interview, before Roy Keane’s Town side were due to play at Nottingham Forest in a Championship fixture on October 23, 2010.
Roy Keane was the Town boss at the time, and Delaney was back in the starting line-up after a nightmarish spell on the sidelines.
Town had lost 2-1 at Watford in midweek (October 19), and were destined to lose again, 2-0 at Forest’s City Ground, to drop out of the top half of the table, but the main story of the week was Delaney’s illuminating interview.
The Irishman admitted that he had only just begun to start “feeling human again” during the last couple of weeks, following a career-threatening thigh injury sustained over the summer.
Delaney had not played since last April, before his return at Vicarage Road for a Tuesday night fixture 10 years ago.
Ironically, that last fixture had been away at Nottingham Forest, when he had sustained an ankle injury, although it was a freak injury in training that led to all his difficulties, with a blood clot in his thigh requiring an emergency operation.
All of a sudden the 28-year-old’s career was put on hold.
“There were some dark days, that’s for sure,” admitted Delaney.
“The blood loss was a real killer.
“In the early stages, just walking to the toilet or going to the kitchen to get something to eat – I just couldn’t do it.
“I was knackered. I was out of breath and I was light-headed.
“Just making a cup of tea, I’d need an hour’s sleep after it!
“You’re expected to come back and play at the level that the others lads are at, and yet I couldn’t even string two training sessions together,” added Delany.
It was certainly a defining moment in Delaney’s career, and in his life.
The Cork-born defender continued: “The whole thing was so scary. People were going on about amputation, but I think that was a long way off.
“But there was a massive threat of having to have a part of my thigh muscle cut out. That was very realistic, which we would have meant the end of my career.
“I had messages from people who had a similar injury to mine, and they were horror stories.
“I had a letter off a sports player whom it took three hospitals and nine hours to diagnose the exact same thing. She ended up losing 90% of her thigh muscle,” added Delaney.
It was certainly a tough time for centre-half-cum-left-back Delaney, just as it was for Town on the pitch.
Keane’s men lost three games in the bounce before rallying with a 2-0 home win over Millwall at the end of the month (October, 2010).
Signed in the summer of 2009 from Queens Park Rangers, for a fee of £750,000, the experienced Delaney went on to play 106 first-team games (98 league appearances) for Town before he left as a free agent in the close-season in 2012.
In fact, he had a very successful career, having earlier played in the Premier League at Leicester City (2000-02) and then spending six years at Hull City (239 games).
After leaving Portman Road, his career went from strength to strength with six years at Crystal Palace, helping the Eagles to promotion into the Premier League and being a mainstay of their central defence.
He finally returned to his native Ireland to play for Waterford, and announced his retirement as a player in July, 2019.
Certainly, he made the most of getting over those “dark days” of a decade ago, when he didn’t know whether he would ever play again.
TOWN squad (2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest on October 23, 2010): Fulop, Peters (sub Livermore, 56), McAuley, Delaney, Smith, Leadbitter, Edwards, Norris, Colback, Townsend (sub Murray, 61), Scotland (sub Wickham, 46). Unused subs: Murphy, Priskin, Brown, Eastman.